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The Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) transports passengers from the mainline railway Luton Airport Parkway to the terminal of London Luton Airport in under four minutes. The scheme has been funded by Luton Rising (London Luton Airport).

A VolkerFitzpatrick and Kier (VFK) joint venture was responsible for the construction of the civil engineering aspects of the scheme with Tony Gee & Partners being Lead Designer for the civils works.

Opened in February 2023, the line replaces the existing shuttle bus service, aiming to reduce road congestion and improve journey times from London St Pancras to the airport terminal. It involved building rail tracks, two stations, a large tunnel and a bridge. Jensen Hughes developed the fire strategy design for the new stations and all areas in between.

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The Problem

The bridge has a steel frame and carries part of the track over a public road. There were concerns that a car fire in the road could affect the steel structure and, as a result, the steel would need applied fire protection. The concern for the tunnel was that a train fire could cause the tunnel to be smoke-logged and prevent train occupants from escaping.

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The Solution

To address the concerns with the bridge, our expert team used a structural fire engineering analysis to demonstrate that the bridge’s structure had sufficient inherent fire resistance and did not need applied fire protection, therefore significantly reducing project costs. For the tunnel, we used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to demonstrate that the mechanical smoke fans to be installed along the tunnel roof could maintain a clear path for escape to the outside.

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The Results

Through our structural fire engineering analyses and CFD analyses for smoke modelling, we were able to develop a safe and cost-effective solution. The Luton DART project is now up and running as intended.

Fire Strategy Design, Luton DART Passenger Transit System

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